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Stereoboard Speak To While She Sleeps About New Album 'This Is The Six' & Breaking Their Mould!

Thursday, 17 May 2012 Written by Katie Territt
Stereoboard Speak To While She Sleeps About New Album 'This Is The Six' & Breaking Their Mould!

Hardcore metal bands aren't really what you'd expect to hear from mainstream radio. A genre of music that doesn't often get the same airplay, press and coverage as its commercial colleagues, it tends to be confined to specialist media. Luckily there are bands out there ready to smash these stereotypes and make a name for themselves as much in the mainstream as in their hardcore fan bases, and Sheffield based While She Sleeps are doing just that. Stereoboard caught up with guitarist and backing vocalist, Mat Welsh to talk about how the band are on the path to breaking out of their specialist mould.

Image"Me and our guitarist, Sean and our drummer, Adam have been playing together for like 10 years now. While She Sleeps have just tipped over our 6 and a half year mark. We've been best mates since school and always played in bands together, like different bands and stuff but us same guys and we've just been doing it like that for years. You know, bands fizzle out. I kind of wanted every band I was in to do well and took each one really seriously, but not all the members necessarily felt the same. So it obviously took a while to get a group who were all into the exact same thing and after a while of While She Sleeps we were all like, this is what I wanna' do, I don't wanna' work a job, this is it. So we've just been going since then so we've got a really, really tight group. It's not the sort of thing where we've got all different groups of friends and stuff like that, my group of friends is basically the guys in the band, and that's their group of friends too, so it helps I think. We've got a strong bond and we know we're not gonna' switch members. We don't have any worry about that sort of stuff because of how close friends we are. A lot of bands don't last as long and break up quicker because they're more like a group of members who haven't necessarily bonded. I think it does really help in setting a foundation for a band and having a lot more faith in the band lasting a lot longer."

While She Sleeps are on the verge of releasing their second album, 'This Is The Six', which has been almost two years in the making. "It's awesome, I'm really looking forward to the next few months. We released 'The North Stands For Nothing' about two years ago and then we've essentially been writing it since then but obviously we wrote loads that we didn't like or whatever - not that we didn't like - we just didn't feel like this was the right stuff for the second album. We're really good in quite a last minute way, so we still went into the studio with this record with quite a lot of unfinished stuff that we wrote quite on the spot but it sort of came together better that way, and that's the way that we work better, like a last minute sort of pressure way. It's the best way for pushing our most natural us, which is what the band should sound like. It shouldn't sound like you're trying to be someone else."

So what can fans expect from the second full release from the band? "This new album, it covers everything, it covers all the ground in my opinion. It's super heavy but then it's melodic too. We've not changed our sound drastically, we've not necessarily done anything that'll make people be like, oh I don't like it now they've changed, we've just sort of pushed the boundaries and we've not like went into the studio with a genre in our head, we don't want that. If we think something sounds cool and we like something, then we put it in because that's the best way to represent us as a band. I think people will really like it; it does everything you need from an album. I think it's also an album you can really have with you - like when I was a kid, I had albums that I grew up to in a way and they were really staple albums in my childhood and I want this album to be that same sort of thing with people. I really think it does that, it has a song for everything. I'm confident that we've captured that. The response we've had so far off people has been so positive. As much as we feel lucky, we also feel like we deserve it because we've been at it so long and trying to do a really honest thing for such a long time. We've been pushing ourselves personally and not cheating ourselves."

'This Is The Six' is also the name of the band's current single, the one that is kicking off a lot of promotion for the new album. "We all sit around and have a listen, and everyone expresses their opinion on what they think we should release and we just come together and pick one that we all agree on. We're really proud of that song and I think it sums up the sound of the record as well - it's really heavy, but it's also melodic - it really describes the vibe of the album. If you like that, you've got a lot more of it coming!"

The support so far, including the calling from the mainstream has seen 'This Is The Six' played on Radio 1 which has been a pretty exciting time for While She Sleeps. "It's been crazy. I don't know, like, getting played on daytime radio is not something I necessarily expected and it's just really shocked us that we got played at like 12 o'clock by Fearne Cotton which is crazy to have something that heavy on the radio. I'm really proud of that because it's like a movement for British music; it proves to people that heavy music isn't just confined to a small group of people that like it. It's becoming more and more for heavy music, and alternative music and culture to be spreading to the radio and getting to people. It's a real milestone to get through to someone like Radio 1 and be played. Fearne Cotton was saying that some people were like, oh my God this is so heavy for this time of day, and then she also was like, it was really cool because it split the country down the middle - some people were really happy and some people were really shocked. I think it's cool just to shake things up for people and to be like, look this is heavy music and it's more normal now. Get used to it!"

Along with the fantastic support so far, While She Sleeps have just been nominated for Best British Newcomer at the Kerrang Awards. "That's a landmark man, getting nominated for that award is a very big thing. I've always, throughout my childhood and being in music, I've always watched who was the Best British Newcomer so to be nominated for it and to have so much support from all the fans around the country has just been amazing. I'm really happy about it, fingers crossed for the awards." I'm sure the answer is obvious, but we asked Mat on a scale of 1-10 how much he'd love to win the award. "TEN! I've said already, we're playing Download festival the day after and I'm either gonna' be the most thankful guy on that stage, just so happy with everyone in the room for getting us there, or if we've lost, I'm gonna' be losing my shit *laughs* It'll be a good show either way - I'll be hungover regardless!"

On the subject of live shows, While She Sleeps are soon back out touring their own shows amongst those festival dates. "We've not been out on the road since the Kerrang tour properly apart from a bit of festival stuff so I'm looking forward to getting back out. Now we've released a couple of tracks and everyone's had time to get them in their heads, I'm just looking forward to bringing some new tracks into the show. It'll be good for people who have seen While She Sleeps before, to see us with a bit of a twist on it. I don't want anyone to get bored of us, so it's good to be getting the new set and show to watch." Having a whole new album of material is an exciting prospect for Mat when it comes to choosing a setlist. "Oh God yeah. I've always sort of like dreamed of having that, oh play the first album, play the second one. Like having your own little library of music that you've made. It's a real landmark, I'm real proud of it."

Being a relatively small band in comparison to some of the other bands at the festivals, While She Sleeps are looking forward to reaching out to potential new fans. “I think we really strive off the challenge. When you play a festival it's all about whose heads can you turn and how many people's opinions can you change, so when we play a festival there's always that challenge of making people walk out of that gig and be like, oh I'm a fan now, even if they weren't sure before. A lot of people are there because they wanna' find that new band, I personally find new music better all the time. So I'm really hoping that this year especially, because we've got so much support, that we can turn a few heads. Festivals are fantastic for that."

The band are keen to acknowledge their hardcore group of fans. "We've always been thankful for everyone getting us to this place, so I think the bigger we get, we're never gonna' lose that. We'll always have that respect and thanks to everyone that's helped us get where we are. It's gonna be nice to turn around to people on a really big stage and be like, we wanna' thank everyone that's been with us from the start, and a lot of people have. We've got a really supportive fanbase."

With a dream festival slot and dream award nomination, there's still more that While She Sleeps want to achieve. "We're really stoked to be playing Download festival this year, that's gonna' be cool, it's such a landmark rock festival. I'd really like to play Leeds festival because that was one of the first ones I went to - fingers crossed for next year. Getting on the main stage would be a very big thing for us as well. We've never done an arena, like a proper arena, that would be really cool. I'm sure it would be weird, I know a lot of people talk about it being not very intimate and we love the intimate shows, but I'd love to do it for the experience, so it would be fun to play something like that. I'd like to mix it up a bit."

As I finish my chat with Mat, he's keen to leave Stereoboard with some parting words....."Get ready for the album. I hope everyone likes it as much as we do. Thank you to everyone for how much support they've given us that's got us to this place. We're just five dudes who like playing shows, having a laugh, and having a party. Thanks to everyone out there, this is our job and we get to do this shit for a living, so it rules!"

If there was a Kerrang award for talent, hard work and ambition, While She Sleeps wouldn't just be nominated - they'd be clear winners. Their excitement about their new material and getting out on the road to showcase it, just oozes from them and it's very contagious. They're helping pave the way for fellow bands in their genre and are proof that with great music and a bit of perseverance, it's possible to break the mould and get a bit of hardcore metal music heard in the mainstream - we salute you, While She Sleeps - keep up the fantastic work!

'This Is The Six' (single) is available now and 'This Is The Six' (album) is released on 6th August.

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